God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
It’s official. I am not stopping this challenge at the end of the two weeks.
Guys, can I tell you how much this prayer time helps throughout the day? Picture me: an anxious, perfectionist, worrier, easily stressed person in a pretty high stress job. (I know, I know how stressful can social media be, right? Walk a mile in my shoes.)
Picture this: God is here for me 24/7. God wants me to be refreshed and refocused throughout the day. God doesn’t want me to be stressed or anxious or worried.
Now I’m not saying I’ve been perfect. I’m not sure if there’s even been one day when I’ve prayed the full 7 times, but I’m definitely praying more than I ever have throughout the day strategically.
When I was in Ohio last week traveling alone, the nightly prayers and Psalms were a tremendous comfort.
When I took a 2-minute pause in a hectic workday at 9:30am to ask the Spirit to bless my work with composure, creativity, inspiration and love and I felt overwhelmingly refreshed.
When I used the drive home to transition out of work and into the evening with family, I felt peace and thankfulness.
What a difference this makes in my day to day. I’ve been learning how easy it is to push God aside throughout the day and fit Him into our schedule, rather than the other way around. When I want everything I do to glorify Him, why not let Him lead my day through prayer?
I think Paul was on to something when he said “pray ceasingly.”
You might also enjoy: 7: Stress
One of my least favorite things is when someone asks how you’ve been and you say busy. Or crazy busy. Or soooo busy. Or ridiculously busy. NEWS FLASH: Everyone’s busy, and everyone thinks they’re busier than everyone else. I’m not saying I don’t do this, because I definitely do, but I’m trying to catch myself before saying it and respond with a less superficial and more sincere answer. All that to say, everyone’s busy and with busyness often comes stress. How do we combat that?
Let’s pray. 7 times a day. I’m good at praying in the morning and I’m good at praying at night. I’ll sometimes sneak a prayer in there during the day if I have a second to breathe or something major is happening. Most days my prayers are very similar. We kind of get stuck in the typical prayer, yeah? 7 shares a strategic plan to pray throughout the day, and I love it. The author calls these 7 prayers “breathing spells for the soul, an oasis to remember the sacredness of life, who we are, how to offer God the incredible gift of our lives, and learning to be in the midst of so much doing.”
I’m so in. Are you?
The Night Watch (midnight)
The Awakening Hour (dawn)
The Blessing Hour (midmorning)
The Hour of Illumination (noon)
The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon)
The Twilight Hour (early evening)
The Great Silence (bedtime)
* * *
The Night Watch (midnight) – The Night Watch advocates for others in a dark night of the soul: the suffering, abandoned, oppressed, lonely.
“My eyes are awake before each watch of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.” Psalm 119:148
Readings: Psalm 42, Psalm 63, Psalm 119: 145-152
The Awakening Hour (dawn) – The Awakening Hour includes thankfulness for a new day, a fresh slate. Our desire to live this day for Jesus glory is an offering. We celebrate God’s redemption.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love; so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
Readings: Psalm 19, Psalm 95, Psalm 147
The Blessing Hour (midmorning) – This mid-morning pause has two emphases: The first is mindfulness of the Spirit’s abiding presence to invite the Spirit to stir our souls. The second is about the sacredness of our hands and work asking the Spirit to bless us with creativity, composure, inspiration, love.
“Let your loveliness shine on us, and bless the work we do, bless the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17
Readings: Psalm 67, Psalm 84, Psalm 121
The Hour of Illumination (noon) – At midday we honor the hour when Jesus embraced the cross, and we recommit to giving our lives away. We pledge to shine brightly, becoming hope to the hopeless and light in the darkness.
“You are the salt of the earth … you are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-14
Readings: Psalm 24, Psalm 33, Psalm 34
The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon) – With the evening approaching, we pray for perspective on this short, fleeting day and life and we hold out forgiveness, release our grudges and offer our gifts to the world.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
Readings: Psalm 71, Psalm 90, Psalm 138
The Twilight Hour (early evening) – We invite God’s peace as we leave work and transition into dinner, family, home, rest, training our minds toward tranquility. The Twilight Hour is for exhaling, calming our minds and transitioning into the evening and being thankful for the day.
Readings: Psalm 34, Psalm 139, Psalm 145
The Great Silence (bedtime) – This prayer concludes the day; the focus is on awareness and we include not just weaknesses but the strengths and accomplishments of the day. The second theme is darkness – We ask the Spirit to guard against our enemy, protecting our seal and innocence in Christ.
“By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
Readings: Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 134
Some party on Fat Tuesday.
Some use it as an excuse to eat everything in sight.
But for me, it’s a day of stress trying to figure out what to give up for Lent.
You name it, and I’ve given it up – soda, chocolate, junk food, caffeine, gossiping, eating out, all things presumably bad for you.
But this year, I’m putting a new spin on it. I’m not asking myself what I should deprive myself of for Lent, but instead, what can I add to my life to enhance it?
So, here it is, I’m making it public for a better sense of accountability, for Lent I am going to exercise every day for 20 minutes. This can be anything – walking, zumba, pilates, running, Just Dance (!!) or heaven forbid, weight lifting. (This also fits perfectly into my Operation Bathing Suit, OBS, but more on that some other time.)
It will be tough, but as is the focus of Lent, I’m surrending it all to God. Whenever I don’t want to get up in the morning, when I feel lazy after work or when I think I have a right to skip a day, I’ll call on God for strength, bringing myself closer to my health goals, but more importantly, a closer relationship with my Father too. It’s a time for reflection and renewal.
What are you doing for Lent? I’d love to hear so we can continue to pray for and inspire each other.